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R.I.P. Elisabeth Sladen

It is with great sadness that yesterday morning I awoke to the shocking news that Elisabeth Sladen had passed away overnight from cancer. Of course, in the last 24 hours there’s been an outpouring of grief and condolences from all corners of the Whoniverse, as we all struggle to come to terms with the passing of one of the most legendary and talented ambassadors for the 48 year old show. Elisabeth had been a major part of the show since 1973, portraying the “perfect” companion in Sarah-Jane Smith. It honestly felt as thought Elisabeth would be around forever, but sadly that just wasn’t to be. What she does leave behind is a legacy of a consistently talented performance, and someone who was clearly getting a chance to do what she loved. We were just lucky to have a chance to share the wonderful journey with her.

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Ever since I took a Gothic Literature class at Uni back in 2000, I’ve been a massive fan of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein. Second only to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it represents all that I love about good storytelling - an examination of the human condition through the experiences of an extra-ordinary creation, in this case Victor Frankenstein’s Creature. It’s a tragic tale, one that has sadly has been so maligned by various Hollywood film treatments (which lead to the curious case whereby people assumed the Creature was the one called Frankenstein). So when I discovered that the National Theatre would be staging a production of this classic tale, directed by none other than Danny Boyle, and starring Beneditch Cumberbatch (fresh from his success on the recent Sherlock revival), well, I was always going to be seeing this, no matter what!

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A Commercial Farce

There were a number of reasons A Commercial Farce appealed to me, and it wasn’t just the excellent performances, or the interesting set design, or the way in which the narrative unfolded in an amusing and engaging way. There was also the fact that, as someone who works with teenagers for a job and directs high school musical productions every couple of years, getting a chance to see a farcical comedy in which almost all of the gags and incidents that occur were seemingly lifted wholesale from my own life experiences made for quite a personal journey. This was a chance to look at the work we do in the theatre from a different perspective, and it’s in the script that Writer and Actor Peter Houghton scores his home run.

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I have to say, I am really loving Windows Phone 7 as a portable gaming platform. It’s been well over a decade since I was last into gaming in the way I am with Windows Phone 7. I guess this comes down to a combination of the ease with which one can access new titles. Purchasing apps and games over the air has been a real positive for me with WP7, and it’s nice to be finally using a mobile platform that is super current in this regard. The other reason why I’ve fallen for mobile gaming is the sheer depth of quality games available on this new platform. The latest game I have purchased is the cute and addictive ilomilo, which has a mind-bending implementation that does confuse me at times, but I am sure for younger audience members it’s going to quickly turn into yet another great puzzle game you can play in short bursts whilst waiting for your bus.

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There’s certainly something rather poetic (or ironic, take your pick) about a group of lawyers and their friends deciding to stage an amateur dramatic production of Macbeth. It’s just a shame when the actual execution does not live up to the potential, despite what are clearly the best efforts of everyone involved.

Click to read the full review at Crikey’s Curtain Call blog …